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Jackson vs. Avery & Duels

Andrew Jackson and Waighstill Avery, both of them lawyers, at one point found themselves in a predicament of honor that required that they engage in a duel. Like Hamilton’s feelings toward Burr, both parties, apparently, did not bear the sort of ill-wishes against their opponents that would necessitate violence, however, and both men agreed to fire into the air.

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The mutual distaste for actually murdering their opponent kept this duel from achieving the tragic result of the Hamilton vs. Burr affair. The Jackson vs.

Avery duel erupted under predicable circumstances. Avery and Jackson were having a dispute over a book which Avery considered to be an authority on law, Bacon’s Abridgement, which Jackson criticized harshly. Avery implied that Jackson had not the requisite knowledge to criticize any book to which Jackson replied that at least he had the good sense to not accept legal fees.

Insults over knowledge and competence in one’s profession, apparently delivered in a rather sarcastic manner, led to the duel being taken up as a remedy (Arthur, 1914).


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